According to Oxford Prof. Graham Harding, garagiste wine-making is a fad that caters to the wine collector and not the wine connoisseur. To Brett Chrystal and Stuart Campel of the Parks Winery based in Parkmore, DIY wine is a way of life. In recent time, the garagiste movement has grown in Joburg and many a suburban parking bay has been turned into wine cellars - far away from the notorious Cape Winelands. Since their first harvest in 2009 the pair have gone from strength to strength, and with the Shiraz variety of grape being dubbed the saviour of South African wines, the sky is the limit.
"We recently participated in a Garagiste blind tasting against twelve other wines from both Johannesburg and the Western Cape," Says Brett, "and we were the top scoring wine with 17 out of 20 for our 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon." Cab is one of the world's most widely recognised red wine grape varieties. The Parks' rendition of this vintage is a jammy wine with robust flavour of wild berries and currants. Hints of toasted oak and clove enhance the velvety smooth finish.
It is because of this that the City of Gold might as well give the Cape Estates a run for their money. Though, it must be said that the Highveld's climate is not ideal for growing vines for fermentation and thus the Joburg wine maker must source its grapes from the western coast. The Parks Winery makes use of grapes from the farms Rustenberg Wine Estate for their latest vintage, which is in its secondary phase of fermentation. In May of this year the winery sold their bottles of 2012 and 2013 vintages at the Cellar Rats Port & Wine Festival in Magaliesberg at a record amount.
With Garagiste wine-making on the rise, especially in the northern suburbs of town, the Cellar Rats wine club has become the stomping ground of many a wine connoisseur. The club meets every Wednesday evening at Tennis Clubhouse at the Morningside Country Club and tasting costs R30 per person - which is a bargain seeing as one can indulgence in Brett and Stuart's very own creations as well as that of other garagistes.
by Shawn Greyling